At the Stoltz/Tansey meeting which some citizens apparently attended on the evening of June 25, 2008, I understand that there was an inquiry about the Greenville community meeting which I organized the same night, and why the 2 meetings were not merged. Stoltz representatives and Councilman Tansey falsely stated that the Stoltz/Tansey meeting had been previously scheduled; that I knew this to be true; and I refused to participate in this meeting. Let me set the record straight: This is not true.
Please permit me explain: On June 3, I first invited Stoltz’ attorney to invite her client to come to a community meeting. This was 2 weeks before Councilman Tansey’s meeting was first scheduled. I repeatedly invited Stoltz via its attorney but Stoltz’ attorney told me repeatedly that Stoltz was not available to come to my June 25 meeting. I learned later that this statement was apparently untrue. It is my opinion now that Stoltz simply did not want to come to my meeting and Stoltz’ attorney was not candid about this fact. Tansey’s meeting was scheduled 2 weeks after my meeting (on 6/16/08) by Tansey’s aide while Tansey was out of town on vacation. I have transmitted a “paper trail” of emails corroborating my statements to the Community News reporter.
Tansey admitted to the Community News reporter on 6/24/08 that he had nothing to do with setting up the meeting which was scheduled while he was away. I sit next to Tansey on the floor of County Council and actually overheard Tansey’s admission to the reporter. Tansey has not being truthful. Community News reporter Jesse Chadderdon’s article below confirms that Tansey’s meeting was scheduled after; not before, my meeting, as incorrectly claimed by Stoltz, Stoltz’ attorney & Tansey.
Area civic leaders have surmised that Stoltz felt that they would not be able to control the dissemination of information at my meeting. If true, I am disappointed. Stoltz also refused to even attend the Kennett Pike Association meeting a few months ago if I was even in the room. I have never had any contact with the Stoltz organization which would give Stoltz any cause to be angry at me for any reason. Area civic leaders, who are familiar with the Stoltz organization, have expressed the opinion to me that Stoltz perceives me as an effective community leader and therefore wants to attempt to marginalize my effectiveness. If so, I assure you that it will not work!
Please refer to my corroborative documents below:
(3) Community News article with misstatement which prompted my Editorial letter
I just wanted to set the record straight.
Best wishes. Councilman Bob Weiner
(1) Meeting minutes taken by an attendee at the Stoltz/Tansey meeting.
Meeting with Councilman Tansey and Stoltz Organization
Odessey Charter School
June 25, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
At 7:00 there were about 6 people in the room. One of the Stoltz team said to Councilman Tansey “I hope more people show up,” and Councilman Tansey said “There wasn’t much time to organize this.” This is interesting because at the end of the meeting when several people had come from Councilman Weiner’s meeting and said it wasn’t right to have the two meetings at the same time, Councilman Tansey said his meeting was scheduled way before Councilman Weiner’s was. I said there must be some mistake, because in early June the other meeting was changed from June 26 to June 25 because of the Stoltz schedule. He said No, his meeting was scheduled first, so I let it drop. Those who came from the other meeting said it had at least 200 people and was standing room only.
Pam Scott introduced the Stoltz organization, Brad Coburn, Steve Davies, Jim Loper, Chris Mesky (and maybe one I missed). She said they are just taking the beginning steps on the Barley Mill Plaza project, just starting to organize studies on traffic and storm water management and other things.
Some one asked why there would be a TOA and not a TIS – she said only DelDOT can request a TIS. We discussed the terrible traffic at Barley Mill Road and Center Road in the mornings, when drivers must wait 20 minutes through 3 or 4 light changes. A Stoltz person made a show of writing this down.
Chris Mesky, a landscape architect with KA Architectural Planners, gave her perspective, said this is a very visible corner. No buildings will be closer to Lancaster Pike or Center Road than the present buildings are. They will be low buildings, about 1 ½ stories high, retail – a strip of “boutiques” with attractive facades on both sides for upscale shops like children’s clothes, sporting goods, books, etc.
The entrance will be right turn only from northbound 141, about midway between the traffic lights at Lancaster Pike and Barley Mill Road. The entrance will go directly into the Plaza or Center, where there will be a cinema with parking below it, a hotel “for the kind of people who want to go to Longwood”, shops with residences above them.
The shops are low along Center Road and Lancaster Pike, but the buildings will be tall the further back you go from the road, 8, 9, and 10 stories, connected to parking garages 4-6 stories. It was pointed out to her that these would loom over Westover Hills.
Question: “With the most prime residential area in the State behind this property, what will you do about noise abatement, about all the light needed for the parking garages.”
Answer: the buildings and the trees will help block the noise; there is a lighting ordinance about the amount of light allowed at the property line.
Question: “I live on Essex Road and hear the Pathmark garbage trucks at 3 a.m.”
Councilman Tansey: We can write into the project that garbage pick up can’t be before a certain time.
Question: “I am concerned about security – crime is already bad in Westover Hills, and by having kids hanging out at the movie theatre you are creating a greater security problem in the area.”
Answer: It won’t be that kind of movie theatre – it will be upscale with table and appeal to adults, not kids.
Question: Will there be restrictions on the hours of the commercial establishments? Like no Sunday hours, restaurants closing before midnight.
Answer: The hours will be market driven.
Timing “When will you start the project?
Answer: DuPont still has leases and it can take a couple of years to get County approval. It would be too risky to build it all at once – typically we would start with retail establishments along the road, then do the business and residential buildings.
Question: There is a lot of business vacancy in the area and the residential market is bad. How do we know you will keep the quality up; finish the project?
Answer: We want the same quality as in Greenville – Stoltz has too much invested in Greenville to produce lower quality (that would be like shooting himself in the foot). And we must follow the plan we submit, even if it takes longer to do the phases.
Councilman Tansey introduced Councilman Reda, Marty Kirk, and someone from the Planning Board. He said Council had wanted another hearing to get the word out and create more opportunities for the public to speak. He made a big effort to coordinate the meetings tonight but it didn’t work out. We could all keep abreast of what is going on at BarleyMillPlaza.com.
The meeting ended at 8:15.
(2) My Editorial to the Greenville Community News
Letter to the Editor: “Misimpression in Greenville News/Councilman Weiner's Greenville community meeting to focus on legal analysis of 3 Stoltz projects" June 24, 2008
Certain statements attributed to Stoltz’ representative in today’s Greenville Community News article appended below are misleading. Stoltz representatives, with whom I have never spoken, claim that I said that my constituents “would not participate in any meeting with Councilman Tansey's constituents.” I had explained to Stoltz’ legal counsel that I preferred to hold my own meeting for my constituents since 2 of the 3 Stoltz projects are in my district and the 3rd project [Barley Mill Plaza] directly affects my constituents in Westover Hills and Westhaven. In fact, the Barley Mill Plaza project has arguably greater impact upon residents in the Second Council District whose properties border the proposal than those in any other Council district.
When the Stoltz organization made its presentation to KPA an attendee asked about the height of the buildings. The response was that there would be one 10 story building. This statement was at the very least misleading.
Here are some additional facts which were not presented by the Stoltz organization:
The Stoltz proposal appears to include 29 buildings for the Barley Mill Plaza site. The number could increase or decrease slightly, depending on whether some of the multiuse buildings would be considered connected. There is one 10-story structure, one 9-story structure, four 8-story structures, two 7-story structures, six 6-story structures, two 5-story structures, two 2-story structures and eleven 1-story structures. Again, that number may vary slightly, because several of the buildings have multiple levels. Please consult the plan for location and uses.
The traffic surrounding the site could triple. The square footage is proposed to increase from 1 million to 3 million square feet.
I organized a Greenville community wide meeting on Wednesday June 25, 2008 at 6 PM at Saint Joseph’s on the Brandywine Family Center because all Greenville residents deserved to be provided an unbiased legal analysis of the applicable law in relation to the pending Barley Mill Plaza project so that their comments on the record at the pending July 1 New Castle County Land Use Department Public Hearing will be relevant and focused. Greenville residents also deserve to be provided an unfiltered legal analysis of Stoltz’ other two projects: (1) a 12 story high rise proposal at Greenville Center, which was preliminarily rejected by New Castle County & (2) an additional development at the old Columbia Gas site [20 Montchanin Road], which would require amending the deed restrictions. There is no indication that Stoltz does not intend to proceed forward with both of these proposals.
The Stoltz organization previously made a presentation to the Kennett Pike Association a few months ago and told KPA that it would only attend if “Councilman Weiner was not present” according to Richard Beck, Acting KPA President. Accordingly, I agreed not to attend while Stoltz representatives were making a presentation. KPA was invited to leave the room after its presentation so that KPA board members could receive my legal analysis of the Stoltz proposal and the applicable legal standards. KPA board members and invited area civic leaders recognized the importance of receiving my candid legal analysis after Stoltz representatives departed. However, with the issuance of the County Land Use Department’s Exploratory Report this week and with the pendency of the July 1 public hearing, it became critically important and time sensitive that the entire Greenville community receive a more detailed legal analysis, unfiltered by Stoltz representatives.
It is for this reason that I extended an invitation to legal counsel to the Stoltz organization on June 3 to invite her client to attend my Greenville community meeting. I reiterated my invitation repeatedly over the next two weeks. I was never advised that Stoltz was already planning to attend another meeting the same evening. In fact, I was repeatedly advised in writing by Stoltz’ legal counsel that she was unable to determine the availability of her client to attend a meeting on the evening on June 25. Finally, after two weeks on June 16 Stoltz legal counsel responded: “regardless of my availability on June 25th, such a meeting would depend upon the availability of other project team members”.
At this juncture, I responded that I was disappointed that the Stoltz organization was otherwise unavailable on the evening of June 25 and welcomed Stoltz’ legal counsel to attend my meeting even if her client could not attend. It was only after this two week exchange was I informed that Stoltz was available and would attend another meeting which Councilman Tansey was hosting the same night at 7 PM. It is apparent that the Stoltz organization did not want to attend a meeting where I would able to assure that the community received an unbiased and objective analysis.
It is disappointing that the Stoltz organization appears to want to avoid working constructively with me and continues its unsuccessful attempts to marginalize my involvement in protecting the residents of Greenville. I welcome the opportunity to place this chapter behind us to work constructively with the Stoltz organization.
Councilman Bob Weiner
Council District 2
New Castle County
(3) Community News article with misstatement which prompted my Editorial letter
Two meetings planned on Barley Mill proposal
By Jesse Chadderdon
Posted Jun 23, 2008 @ 05:09 PM
Hockessin, Del. —
Two community meetings will be held Wednesday about a $525 million redevelopment plan for the DuPont Barley Mill Plaza site near Greenville.
The plan, being proposed by Stoltz Realty Partners, a Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based developer, calls for a 2.9 million-square-foot mixed-use village on the site that includes residences, office space, shops, restaurants and a hotel.
Stoltz will make a presentation about the plan beginning at 7 p.m. at the Odyssey Charter School, 3821 Lancaster Pike, at a meeting being organized by New Castle County Councilman William Tansey (R-Greenville).
County Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham) will host a separate meeting Wednesday at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine. That meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and also cover two other plans submitted by Stoltz: a $19 million expansion of the Greenville Center shopping area, and a $7 million expansion of the Columbia Gas complex at 20 Montchanin Rd.
Stoltz representatives will only be present at Tansey’s meeting.
“Councilman Weiner was aware of this meeting but chose to schedule a meeting on the same evening,” said Tom Gailey, spokesman for Stoltz Realty Partners. “He was invited to participate but told us his constituents would not participate in any meeting with Councilman Tansey's constituents. We welcome any resident to the meeting Wednesday.”
Gailey said the timing of the meeting was important, since the Barley Mill project is on the July 1 agenda of the New Castle County Planning Board.
“We expect to have future meetings to discuss our Greenville and Montchanin projects as they are scheduled for planning board meetings,” Gailey said.
The Barley Mill project is within Tansey’s district, while the others are in Weiner’s district.
Weiner said he had been requesting a meeting with Stoltz for weeks and was repeatedly told representatives would not be available that evening. He said he believes Stoltz chose to meet with Tansey because Weiner has been more outspoken about the plans.
“Stoltz sees me as a threat and they know if I’m running a meeting all of the pertinent information about the county’s land use law will be discussed,” he said. “Stoltz would be much better served if they chose to work with me.”
(4) Community News article dated 6/26 which states, as a matter of fact, that the Stoltz/Tansey meeting was scheduled after my meeting.
Barley Mill Plaza redevelopment plan unveiled
By Jesse Chadderdon
Posted Jun 26, 2008 @ 01:13 PM
Last update Jun 26, 2008 @ 03:40 PM
Greenville, Del. —
Greenville residents got their first look Wednesday at a $525 million redevelopment proposal for a mixed-use center at the DuPont Barley Mill Plaza site.
The plan, being proposed by Stoltz Realty Partners, a Bryn Mawr, Pa. developer, calls for a 2.9 million-square-foot village on the site that includes residences, office space, shops, restaurants and a hotel.
The buildings would range in height from single-story retail centers fronting Route 141 to interior mixed-use buildings ranging from 5-10 stories.
Some of the taller buildings would be strictly designated for office use, while others – located along an interior “Main Street,” would feature shops and restaurants on the ground floor and either residential or office units in the floors above.
“We want to create the feel of a scaleable, accessible pedestrian promenade,” said Brad Coburn, managing director of Stoltz Real Estate Partners.
Planning Board Hearing
Barley Mill Plaza redevelopment
July 1, 7:00 p.m.
77 Reads Way, New Castle
Some surface parking would be available for the retail outlets, while parking decks wrapped by the taller buildings would predominantly house the cars of residents and workers.
In total, the plan for the 96-acre site calls for 1.48 million square-feet of office space, 731,250-square-feet of retail space, and 738,150-square-feet of residential space, which would be divided among roughly 700 apartment and condominium style units.
Stoltz officials presented the plans to about 20 people at a meeting at the Odyssey Charter School organized by Councilman William Tansey, whose district includes Barley Mill. A separate meeting, previously scheduled by Councilman Robert Weiner, was attended by nearly 200 people at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine.
Residents at the meetings shared similar concerns: How much additional traffic would this bring? What about the tall buildings that would be “towering over” our communities of Westover Hills, Westpark and Westhaven? What about noise and light pollution?
Because the plan is still in its exploratory stage, traffic studies have yet to be completed. Attorney Pam Scott said that work is in its early stages.
“We’ve just started some of the traffic counts and we have a number of other studies we’re going to be doing,” she said. “Some changes to this are likely based on what we hear from the county.”
Scott also said that because the property is currently zoned for office, 10-story buildings could already be built there.
Some residents called for walls along the property line to help keep noise pollution out, while others asked for deed restrictions that would limit businesses from being open late at night.
Fairthorne resident Linda Tabeling said she was concerned the developer could pull a bait-and-switch and end up just building a large retail center without the other components.
“I seem to remember the Brandywine Town Center being proposed in this kind of way and we ended up with a bunch of big box stores,” she said.
Debi Diver of Westover Hills said she just thought the project was too much.
“I could get on board with some of it, but all of this just seems like a lot,” she said.
Weiner, who provided residents with a brief overview of the plan, encouraged them to testify at a July 1 Planning Board hearing where the plan is scheduled to be reviewed.
“One might argue logically that nine and 10 story buildings are not compatible with the residential character of the surrounding communities,” he said. “What we can’t say is we don’t need this project or we don’t want it or that there are other retailers in the area that would be cannibalized by this project. It may be true, but it’s not a legal argument based on the code.”